|Your Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide
Catch & release, Fly Fishing Only.
The Secret Season
Our autumn fly fishing season has been sensational!
We have had some of the finest weather and fishing conditions that anyone can remember ever seeing here this time of year. The Olympic Peninsula coastal rivers got several nice shots of rain and came up quickly, and dropped right back into shape quickly, and for weeks now the salmon, cutthroat and summer steelhead have been getting caught on the rivers with regularity. Now the rivers are in low flow, summer-like conditions, and some of that fishing has slowed a bit. We expect better fishing to resume in earnest, with the next rains forecast for the middle of next week. By Halloween this mild weather should get some rain. The longer range forecast is showing a strong likelihood of rain here for the next ten days. Don't wait for that though. If you can get out here, do it. With low water now, after those several good pushes of rain, there will be fish spread throughout most of these rivers by now. Bring a floating line and some good wet flies, streamers, skaters, wakers etc.
Monday November 4th Update: After the storm
We had a pretty serious wind event here through Saturday, and just enough rain to perk up the rivers really nicely. The Hoh River came up about 1000 c.f.s. after being stuck at about 600 c.f.s. for weeks. Right now the rivers are dropping back down and the fishing has been very good on some of the bigger Olympic Peninsula coastal rivers. Some stalwarts made it out on Saturday, despite the wind dangers. We do have rain in the week long forecast ahead, which is normal for this time of year. And very happily, we have mountain weather forecasts showing freezing / snow levels in the Olympic Mountains at 2500-3500 feet. That has moderated the influence of the rain on the rivers so far. This is setting us up for some really good winter fly fishing conditions. The water is getting colder now, so we will be thinking of getting our flies deeper and slower on the drift and swing. With lower flows we won't be using really heavy heads to get deep if we don't have to. Often we can use a floating line, 9 foot leader, and heavier fly to get down sufficiently. In low water there is no need to dredge the bottom. In fact, doing so can sometimes push the fish away. "Heavy Iron" style hooks, sparse ties, like the classic hair wings, from size #6 through #1, can be the good choice for this fishing. And in low water I will be using some darker colored flies. If the water is any more colored than a rich deep green. for instance a grey glacial till color, still with a few feet of visibility, I will use some hot pink, red, orange, pink or cerise accented flies. These fluorescent colors reflect more light at deeper depths, and in turbid conditions. So, it has rained, not too much, and the fish are on the move again.
Friday November 1st Update: Weekend Warning!
This morning the bay is flat and calm, very light winds, no waves, the air is balmy- a perfect morning to be fly fishing anywhere on the beaches here. The rivers have yet to pick up enough rain to make a real or encouraging difference in flows. According to the most recent forecast models for our region this is about to change very quickly, and in a dramatic way. There is a serious Gale Warning for our region, with dangerous and potentially damaging wind predictions, that point to tonight through late Saturday night and perhaps into Sunday as being particularly volatile. So today may be your best bet for a beach outing. By tonight the worm turns. The weekend does not look so good. This would be a good time to tie some steelhead flies. Things should calm here by Monday. Along with this big pressure change here we should be seeing some rain on and off through the next week or more. And our rivers surely need that. These Gale Warnings are in place on the west coast of Washington, the Vancouver B.C. area, and across the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound. These first strong wind events of late autumn and early winter can make outdoors activity dangerous with broken tree branches and trees falling etc. So be very careful out there. We all know how these warnings sometimes do not shake out to be so bad. But I will note here that our regional forecasts are getting more accurate. And along with the NOAA Seattle regional weather offices, I rely on the University of Washington Climate programs. Here is a link to U.W. Professor Dr Cliff Mass Weather Blog and his most recent update on this incoming weather.
Our saltwater beaches are in really good shape so far. I was out for a row with a friend in the dory here the other night, and we spotted a very large pod of coho salmon, finning along at the surface, dozens of them that we could see, in shallow water and close to shore. As luck would have it we were not fishing. A good reminder that there is still some good fishing to be had out there. And for you stalwart saltchuck fishermen, the fall Chum salmon run is just getting going. An 8 or 9 weight will cover that. With this autumn shaping up as it has so far, with good conditions, mild weather, and so many good fish being caught, I expect to be fishing the saltwater beaches here right through November, and beyond. Here is a piece that I shared with Doug Rose on his blog some few years ago, with my take on sea run Cutthroat fishing in late autumn and winter. Enjoy!
This is it! Autumn is here! The run is on! You should be fishing!
We'll be walk and wade fishing these beautiful Olympic Peninsula saltwater beaches right through autumn, with September and October offering us some of the best guided fishing opportunities of the year. If you would like to plan a fishing date with me- do it well ahead of time.
Remember: Catch & Release, Fly fishing Only!
Beginners welcome. Full instruction available. Complete support assured. Use of equipment available. Picnic lunch and soft beverages provided. Celebrating over 33 years of international fly fishing adventures!
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Little Stone Flyfisher
P.O. Box 261
Port Townsend, WA
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